Seismic imaging of the Southwest Japan arc from the Nankai trough to the Japan Sea

Xin Liu, Dapeng Zhao, Sanzhong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Detailed three-dimensional P- and S-wave velocity (Vp and Vs) models of the entire Southwest Japan arc from the Nankai trough to the Japan Sea are determined for the first time using a large number of high-quality arrival-time data from local earthquakes. The suboceanic earthquakes used in the tomographic inversion were relocated precisely using sP depth phase data. Our results show that strong lateral heterogeneities exist in the interplate megathrust zone under the Nankai forearc. Large interplate earthquakes mainly occurred in or around high-velocity (high-V) patches in the megathrust zone. These high-V patches may represent asperities formed by the subducted oceanic ridges and seamounts. Low-velocity (low-V) zones in the megathrust zone may contain sediments and fluids associated with slab dehydration and so become weakly coupled areas. Our results also show that the coseismic slip distributions of some megathrust earthquakes are not limited in the high-V patches (asperities) where the ruptures initiated. Because of the weak interplate coupling in the low-V areas, the rupture of an interplate earthquake could unimpededly pass through the low-V anomalies and so result in a great megathrust earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Volume216
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Asperity
  • Earthquakes
  • Megathrust zone
  • Nankai trough
  • SP depth phase
  • Southwest Japan
  • Subduction zones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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